Chicago Cubs: Week two spring training report

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Chicago Cubs
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The second week of spring training brought another dominant week from the Chicago Cubs – as well as some impending roster moves for low-level guys.

Each week, I will review the “week that was” in Cubs Spring Training. We’ll review on field play, off field news, and the latest projected 40- and 25-man roster. This installment covers week two of Spring Training, from March 2 through Friday, March 9.

While week one of Spring Training brought reason for optimism, week two may well have brought cause for pure giddiness. Winning seven of their eight games this past week, the Cubs sit atop the Cactus League at 11-2-2. Their .846 win percentage is tops in baseball.

Scoring Runs in Bunches

Once again reflecting on record – as was cautioned in last week’s report – Spring Training won-loss records are relatively meaningless. Yes, it is wonderful to have your team hit the ground running. But most of the games are decided by career minor-leaguers or kids with little to no experience. Truly discerning what is noteworthy in terms of spring performances requires a more thorough investigation.

During the second full week of Spring Training play, the Cubs scored an impressive 54 runs (while giving up 30). In 68 full innings of play (covering eight games), they scored at least one run in nearly 40 percent of these innings. Chicago put up crooked numbers in 14 of those innings and three or more in half those.

Scoring runs aplenty early this year

As of March 9, only four teams had scored more than the Cubs’ 97 runs, and two of these teams have played more games.

Of equal – or perhaps even greater significance – is HOW they are scoring runs. The Cubs had hit 18 home runs heading into weekend play, placing them firmly middle of the pack in this regard. In comparison, the four teams scoring more than Chicago (SF, LAD, SD, CLE) are the four teams atop the league in terms of home runs hit this spring.

In summary, the Cubs are scoring a ton of runs without depending on the long ball to get those runs home. This portends nicely as one would have to assume the likes of Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber and Co. will hit their homers. Being able to score the “old fashioned way” should open up their offense in ways that they struggled with in 2017.